“I support the legalisation of assisted dying because whilst it will give choice and control to those dying, like my mother was, a new law will also make sure only those who are dying are given assistance to end their suffering.”
A new campaign group in support of assisted dying has launched today to bring together people with disabilities who want a change in the law on assisted dying for terminally ill people in the UK.
Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying (DADiD) is campaigning for those who have terminal illnesses to have the right to choose an assisted death, within upfront safeguards.
The group, which has been set up and co-ordinated by disabled people, will help provide a balanced reflection of disabled people’s views on this important issue. The 2007 British Social Attitudes survey found that:
75% of people with disabilities supported a change in the law to allow dying adults the choice of an assisted death.
Greg Judge, Co-ordinator of DADiD, said:
“This new group will campaign to allow assisted dying to be an option to all competent dying people, regardless of whether they have a disability. We will be campaigning for assisted dying to be made available as a choice for people who have terminal illnesses and a prognosis of less than six months to live. Whether someone is disabled or non-disabled is not relevant to the legislation; however what is vital is that people with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else.”
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:
“Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying is a welcome addition to other affiliate campaign groups such as Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) and Inter-faith Leaders for Dignity in Dying (IfDiD) who call for a change in the law alongside Dignity in Dying. It is often assumed that disabled people do not support the choice of assisted dying, and in fact the opposite is true; most disabled people, like non-disabled people, do. I look forward to working with DADiD in the coming months on ensuring that more choice and control for all at the end of life becomes a reality.”
Lucy Alliband is a member of DADiD.
“I started campaigning for a change in the law over assisted dying after witnessing my mother die from cancer several years ago. I believe people like my mother; those who are dying of a painful disease should have choice and control over their bodies which are already in the process of dying.
“It took a lifetime for Mum to die. This is why I am a firm believer in assisted dying. Her pain went on for too long, her suffering that couldn’t be cured.
“In 2005, I was working in South Africa and was involved in a major car accident which left me in a coma for several months and in hospital for over two years. I am still getting use to my new life today as a disabled person, walking is more difficult and I can’t sit for very long but I do my best to make the most of life.
“I support the legalisation of assisted dying because whilst it will give choice and control to those dying, like my mother was, a new law will also make sure only those who are dying are given assistance to end their suffering. Just because I’m now disabled, doesn’t mean I want to die. Everyone who is not dying, disabled or not, will be safeguarded, this just won’t apply to them.”
Notes to editor:
For all Dignity in Dying and Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying media enquiries, please contact Michael Charouneau on 020 7479 7732 / 07725433025 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2007 British Social Attitudes found that 75% of disabled people would support a law which would enable a doctor to end a person’s life if they were suffering with an incurable illness from which they will die.
Clery E, McLean S, Phillips M (2007) Quickening death: the euthanasia debate, in Parks A, Curtice J, Thomson K, Phillips M and Johnson M (eds.) British Social Attitudes: the 23rd report – perspectives on a changing society London, Sage: 35-54
Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying (DADiD) was set up in 2013 as an official arm of Dignity in Dying. DADID is a campaign group for disabled people in support of assisted dying, co-ordinated by Greg Judge, which comprises disabled activists and experts from across the UK.
About Dignity in Dying:
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
Dignity in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.